I would like to congratulate Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chair, Director General Aaron Aquino for assuring the country that he won’t let parents of the 12 minors-the youngest of them only 4-years old-rescued in an anti-drug raid in a poor Navotas community to simply get away with a major offense which is neglecting their children.
The retired police general-member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985 said they will file criminal charges for child abuse and neglect against the parents of the rescued minors since he is fully convinced that the concerned parents are liable for violation of Republic Act 7610, or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”
Aquino hit the nail right on the head. As I have said in a previous column, authorities must go after parents who have been neglecting their kids in the wake of growing cases of young kids being accosted for involvement in illegal drug activities mostly in impoverished parts of the country.
Obviously, these children in conflict with the law are being left to fend for themselves by their parents or guardians, all adult Filipinos who really doesn’t care if their children won’t go to school and mingle with the bad company that usually brings headache to our authorities.
There are also nagging questions that needs to be answered by the concerned barangay officials and the parents of the kids: Where were they when the raid was being conducted? Were they at work when the agents came? Were they gambling or drinking? Were the kids’ fathers and mothers merely sleeping or making love in their homes? Were the kids’ mothers gossiping with their neighbors? Were they too busy with their household chores that they let their kids tend for themselves?
I think that everybody will agree with me that parents and guardians of kids who are found to be already drug users at their very tender age or are already associated with known drug dealers in their neighborhood should also be taught a lesson by the government, not given the so-called ‘kid gloves’ treatment’ or mere sermon and lectures by police and barangay officials before their children are released to them.
I even mentioned in my previous column that there ought to be a national law that will give a jail term on parents who allow their kids to serve as ‘runners/couriers’ of drug syndicates in their community, especially poor neighborhoods as evidenced by the series of arrests being made by the Philippine National Police and the PDEA.
I fully support Aquino in his move to file criminal charges against the parents of the rescued children. Listen to his words: “Child neglect is the simplest form of child abuse. Parents or guardians are answerable if they are unable to protect their children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination, or worse, they are the ones committing such .”
Citing Section 2 of RA 7610, the PDEA chief emphasized that Filipino children belong to their homes under their parents’ care, not in the streets where they are exposed to danger at such a young age. “PDEA emphasizes the important role of parents in keeping these kids off the streets. The parents, as head of the basic unit of society, must provide their children the basic services needed for a good quality of life,” he said.
As explained by Aquino, parents who will be proven to have coerced, forced or intimidated their children to be involved in illegal drug trafficking or pushing will also be held responsible under Section 10 para (e) of RA 7610. If found guilty, they will suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period— an imprisonment of six years and one day to eight years.